From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.
When designing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are creating something new. Sometimes, it can mean that you’re enhancing the value of something that already exists. That is the approach of our maker of today. Sebastian is a food designer, entrepreneur, and maker from Argentina. He wants to improve upon that which already exists, bringing food to life in new ways that enrich an eater’s experiences.
For doing that, he travelled up to Bra, Italy, the homeland of Slow Food and town known for being all about food.
Sebastian started to research chocolate and hazelnuts few years ago. From a design prospective, chocolate is a very interesting food, as it is as easy to shape as it is tasty. He started from the consumer’s point-of-view right away, testing how people reacted to different shapes and molds. The recipe for the perfect taste would come after.
Molding the Chocolate
Sebastian understands that chocolate is meant to be shared. Its size and shape makes it easy to pack away, and no matter where you go, eaters understand what it is and how its meant to be broken into pieces and passed around a table. But our maker wanted to make a chocolate that was both more convenient and “talkative.”
He worked a lot on shaping. “I wanted to effectively communicate about the ingredients I was working with. I wanted to figure out something that was beautiful but also able to communicate at the same time. The shape I arrived to has mountains tops that recall the mountain view from the hazelnut orchards,” says Sebastian.
Once the shape was designed, Sebastian went began making the mold. He started with a handmade thermoforming machine, created from a a wooden wine box with a home style vacuum machine connected to it. It only cost him 35 euros to make it, and he’s claimed he’s been able to use it more than 100 times.
“The other option could have been to just 3D print it!” says Sebastian.
If you want to do a mold at home, another option is to go for silicon plastique. It is sold by the pound and comes in two parts: a blue and a white one. Using an equal amount of the two, and mixing them by hand, you get a paste that you can then press onto the surface of the object you’re going to mold. Run a knife lightly around the edge and remove any plastique and let it sit for at least an hour at room temperature. Then it is done. Really easy.
The Chocolate’s Recipe
Eventually, Sebastian had to deal with the recipe. The recipe was challenging as chocolate is delicate and requires a certain level of expertise to make. He finally arrived to a chocolate with 50% IGP hazelnut from Piemonte, Italy that performs perfectly with his designed mold.
What does Sebastian teach us today?
Sebastian is a designer, chef, and great example of how to incorporate the skill sets of both before putting them into action.
He was able to make a mold with nothing more than a wooden box and a bunch of tools. Neighbors were the main sources of his equipment, proving that the act of making is a collaborative effort.